O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

Shortee's PitStop and Speedway Café

A Family Affair


January 23, 2020

Aaron and Tracey Kilts

The Smith Family began took over the operation way back in 2003. It involved the entire family and opened its doors through thick and thin. On December 3, 2019 the operation transferred to the Tracey and Aaron Kilts family. The effort continues to involve the full family.

Tracey explains some of the involvement, "My brother is in the food service business. He's been helpful. My daughter has been a bartender and has been helpful with the liquor. My son helped with the accounting. The fathers are doing the construction." She even talks about the younger children, three of them help out. Aaron and Tracey have six children in all, 3 grown and 3 not yet teens.

In the short time since early December, the Kilts have been using their energy learning about what is going on in the business and when it all happens. At the same time they have included fitting all of the demands of a business into a home life – or maybe vice versa. "It's been fun," says Tracey. And she says this new venture has allowed Aaron to have more time with his kids. And she says that time was a driver in making such a big decision, to buy a business.

The last month and a half have been very busy for them, and enjoyable. Tracey makes certain to say that she and Aaron have been very lucky to have had the help of the "ladies." The ladies are staff who were employees of "Shortee's" when they made the purchase. She credits their kitchen manager, Sierra and others, Faith, Lindsey, Dee, Cathy and Bev with helping them learn the business demands and flow and keeping things going during this transition. "They have been fantastic!" she says. "Their knowledge and helpfulness is appreciated."

Much of "Shortee's" will continue unchanged. Fuel, a convenience store, liquor store and the all day restaurant will continue with only a few changes, most to the environment of the restaurant. Almost no changes to the fuel, liquor store and convenience store are planned.

Changes to the menu at "Speedway Café" will not be any deletions, but some additions. They include Cuban Reuben, Chili Cheese Dogs, Slaw Dogs, Gussie's Chicken, Boneless Wings, Mini Tacos and Ranch Tater Wedges. They are also putting a big focus on "homemade." The emphasis of the food at "Speedway Café" will be on homemade burgers and entrees. Some freezer items will remain like French fries. But homemade, like grandma's will be a take a bigger role. Much experimentation with recipes and trying to replicate "grandma's" special touch has already been ongoing. "Amazing" homemade baked good by Estella Stout are part of that homemade emphasis. Look for the goodies.

A return to the racing theme is also underway with more (Primghar Jaycees Figure 8) racing specials in the planning stages. The style and décor are expected to reflect the theme.

A special feature near the front of the store is Tracey's brainchild. A fireplace and high back chairs and tall tables are coming. The space will feature a restive and fun space for coffee and chatter complete with books even some of those homemade offerings available. There are no plans for a broaster. The Kiltses are looking to return to the family focused life when they were younger.

A primary effort of the couple is to make their new business welcoming and very supportive of the other local institutions like buying from the grocery store when it best supports their business, sharing information to visitors about services available; generally to support their town. By being involved.


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